Feed Your Kids Bugs!
If you want to throw your child a birthday party to remember, go with a theme kids will really love. Bugs! Yes, bugs. Insects... those creepy crawly thingies that you swat at and spray with Raid. Kids are very strange little creatures and it just turns out that kids love bugs. Don't believe it? Neither did I until I watched my entomologist partner steal the show at a street festival not long ago. Her trick? Walking around with live walking sticks on her dress. Still don't believe it? Ask your child. Any "Bug's Life" fan will tell you: bugs are cool. For the scientifically minded of any age and especially for kids K-6, a bug birthday party is a real scream!
There are an estimated 10 million different species of bugs on the planet, which makes for a lot of possibilities when decorating for a bug birthday party. Thrift store toy bins are loaded with forlorn "Bug's Life" and "Ants" action figures just waiting to live again as birthday party table decorations. Check toy stores or drug stores for shiny new bugs that can be glued on paper placemats or on the outsides of paper cups. Little plastic ants are especially convincing when glued in a line along a paper tablecloth.
There is no end to what you can do in your very special insect party for kids of all ages. Serve the guests beetle juice with ice cubes that have plastic bugs suspended in the center. Little plastic plant pots filled with cookie crumb "dirt" and gummy worms make great gross-out snacks that kids love to "Ewwwwwwwwwwww" over. Make one for each guest's place at the table and "plant" a plastic plant stem in each pot. Let kids assemble their own segmented bug snacks with different kinds of cut fruit and colored plastic toothpicks. For the birthday cake, turn a chocolate cake roll into a yellow and black-striped monarch caterpillar with candle antennae.
Scavenger hunts are a blast for kids of all ages, and what better game for your bug-themed party than a hunt for plastic bugs hidden throughout the yard or inside the house? Just make sure that one of them doesn't bring in a live cockroach instead of a plastic one!
There's an earnest entomology student at your local university who would love to earn a few extra bucks talking bugs to a room full of kids. Call the biology department and ask around. Local zoos are another good source for guest speakers. Ask the bug expert to bring along a few non-biting live specimens and display cases of pinned insects if they have them.
For party favors, send the kids home with bug stickers, bug temporary tattoos, miniature magnifying glasses and bug-shaped candies in little jars with lids that can serve as future bug collecting jars. Just think of it as doing early recruiting for the entomology department of the local university!
It might be a good idea to stop short of a Fear Factor inspired contest where real insects are consumed, however... so try some of these bug recipes that will have kids screaming and chowing down at the same time.